James Madison Papers

To James Madison from Mathew Carey, 19 February 1814

From Mathew Carey

Philada Feb. 19. 1814


For five years I have been thoroughly & unalterably convinced that this Country was verging towards anarchy & civil war. And for those five years I have been ardently desirous of the adoption of means of prevention, simple, practicable, efficacious, & incapable of producing ill in any possible event.

All my importunity—all my efforts have been in vain, although it required but a single recommendation to insure a fair trial of the plan suggested, which, if properly acted upon, would have prevented the successive losses Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont, & Rhode Island, in all of which the friends of republican government & of the union had the ascendency which has been lost by the admirable management of the enemies of the government, & the miserable management of its friends.1 Never was a glorious cause so vilely conducted.

Perfectly satisfied of the actual danger in which we stand, I make one more effort. What may be its success I know not. If it shares the same fate as the rest, I shall at least have the satisfaction of having done my duty.

As long Ms. letters are not generally read, I have printed the present one.2 There are but twelve copies. For you—for Mr Munroe—for Capt Jones—for Mr Rush—for Mr Jefferson—& probably for Gov. Tompkins. I remain, sir Your obt. hble. servt

Mathew Carey


1For Carey’s plan, see his letters to JM of 21 and 25 Jan. 1813, PJM-PS, description begins Robert A. Rutland et al., eds., The Papers of James Madison: Presidential Series (7 vols. to date; Charlottesville, Va., 1984–). description ends 5:601–3, 614–18.

2Carey evidently sent JM a pamphlet entitled Prospects on the Banks of the Rubicon, published under the pseudonym “Cassandra” (DLC: Madison Collection, Rare Book and Special Collections Division).

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